Letter to the editor from Joan Thakor, Member of the RTM Education Committee. The views expressed here are her own.
On April 27, Greenwich’s Republican-controlled BET voted against increasing the BOE budget by the $3 million its own budget committee had originally approved, in favor of a budget flat to last year.
Many political partisans in favor of this move have glibly stated here and in other local publications something along the lines of, “What’s all the fuss? After all, we’re not decreasing the funding—merely keeping it the same as last year.”
This argument is, frankly, grossly misleading and here’s why: School-related salaries and wages make up roughly 82% of the BOE budget. Due to contractual increases in those costs, the schools are left with a decrease of almost 10.5% in discretionary spending. That’s less money for programming, curriculum development, supplies, enrichment, etc.
So yes, you could technically say that the budget is flat, but clearly, the real- world impact to our students, families and the community is devastating. Let’s not obfuscate that.